The conference of the Society of German-speaking Planetariums also brought Scott A. Niskach from Evans&Sutherland (USA) to Kiel. He talked with Christin Beeck about the cooperation with the Mediendom.
Did you have a good trip, Mr. Niskach? Is this your first visit to Kiel?
I have been to Kiel multiple times over the past 10+ years and I’m always impressed. The Mediendom is famous in the planetarium community for its content creation and the development of outstanding planetarium professionals.
What makes fulldome productions so special?
The unique medium and ease of being able to create immersive shows dome theaters are immersive and when combined with high quality content audiences are captivated and come away with more than an entertaining experience.
Please make a brief summary of Digistar. What is the advantage of Digistar?
Digistar is a digital full dome system that provides extensive real-time astronomy and full dome content. Digistar systems are found all over the world in domes from 3-30 meters. The advantage of Digistar is that it is intuitive and easy to use while being incredibly powerful. Operators can also make and share content on the Digistar Cloud. These is a rich and active community of Digistar users all around the world.
Does the German audience differ from the US audience? Are there any preferences?
Every planetarium is different, even within Germany. While there are many similarities, the advantage of the planetarium is the ability to tell local stories and meet the needs of a community.
I have learned that there is a lively exchange between the Kiel Mediendom and Evans & Sutherland. How does the collaboration look like?
Yes, Mediendom is an active content creator and industry leader for staff development. Kiel Mediendom has influenced many of the current Digistar features.
Are there special productions you remember? Are there any anecdotes you may share with our readers?
As I travel though Germany I am always amazed at how many people planetarium professionals have roots in the Kiel Mediendom. The Mediendom is famous for trying new things and being creative.
Would you say that this exchange did contribute to the development of Digistar and if yes, to what extent?
Kiel Mediendom staff have an ongoing dialogue with E&S and the Digistar development team. They provide feedback and ideas for new features. Kiel Mediendom is also a beta-test site where new software is first tested and fine-tuned before the official release to the world wide planetarium community.
What does the future of fulldome productions look like? What is your vision for Digistar 2050?
The key will always be telling captivating stories. Technology will advance and in fact, this year E&S has announced DomeX, an LED Dome that will change the hardware technology of the planetarium. Image quality, resolution, brightness and contrast will contintue to improve, but the success of the Mediendom and planetariums around the world will always be on the staff and their ability to connect with the local community.
Thank you, Mr. Niskach!